County, Maharishi Vedic City review agreement on roads
County road maintenance, specifically in Maharishi Vedic City, was under discussion at Monday’s Jefferson County Board of Supervisors meeting.
County engineer Scott Cline, county assistant attorney Pat McAvan and Maharishi Vedic City officials discussed clarifying the 28E Agreement about roads.
All parties are working on an updated 28E Agreement for road maintenance, needed because the population of the incorporated town has grown.
“One difference [in the updated agreement] is a revised, updated map,” said Scott Cline, county engineer. “More miles are included because of annexations.
“The county is interested in maintaining through roads and Farm-to-Market roads. Updated costs are included. The county expects a 50 percent reimbursement from Maharishi Vedic City on the county roads and a 25 percent reimbursement for roads that the county and city hold jointly,” said Cline.
Cline said the county’s costs to maintain roads have increased.
“I think our previous rate was $150 per mile annually, but I’d have to look it up to be sure,” said Kent Boyum, director of economic development and government relations for Maharishi Vedic City.
The billing rate, effective July 1, 2014, will be $400 per mile for roads the county maintains and $200 per mile annually for roads Maharishi Vedic City and Jefferson County share responsibility for — city limit border roads.
Roads and streets entirely inside the city limits, that are not designated Farm to Market, are not the county’s responsibility. Jasmine Avenue is the only Farm-to-Market road impacting Maharishi Vedic City, Cline said.
Jefferson County is also responsible for maintaining traffic signs, pavement markings and any speed limits on county roads and the half-and-half roads.
“To revise speed limits or other markings or signs, we need to reach a mutual agreement,” Cline said. “We want to keep guidelines for sign installations on rural roads uniform throughout the county. Agreements about speed limit changes are based on an engineering study of traffic count.”
Boyum said the city originally asked former county engineer Tom Goff, (retired June 30) to put “slow” signs along 170th Street near Rukmapura Hotel.
“We added 35 mph speed limit signs inside the city, and some of those are still up,” said Boyum.
Supervisor Dick Reed said those signs would need to come down before he would sign the 28E Agreement.
“Is the speed limit issue based solely on an engineering study?” asked Nancy Watkins, city attorney for Maharishi Vedic City. “Can we meet and discuss it before decisions are made?”
Cline reiterated he’d like to conduct a study.
Boyum said stop signs are more of an immediate need than a study for speed limits.
“Stop signs are more complicated,” said Jefferson County assistant attorney Pat McAvan. “Stop signs need to follow National Transportation Safety requirements.”
“Do you take residents’ feedback or only the results of the study [to determine decisions]?” asked Boyum.
Cline said decisions to install traffic signs are based mostly on accident rates and traffic count.
“Public feedback is always important, and I’d want to get both sides,” Cline said. “This 28E Agreement mostly clarifies updates to the map and billing amounts.”
Boyum and Watkins will take the information and updated agreement back to city officials.
The supervisors took no action Monday, as the agenda item was only to review the agreement before having Maharishi Vedic City approve it.
Mental health update
In other business Monday:
• Central Point of Coordination Jefferson County Mental Health Administrator Sandy Stever updated the supervisors about regionalization of mental health services.
“We met with area providers and reviewed the core services and rules [required by the state], and we think we have them all,” she said. “If we find out we don’t, the area providers say they could provide them.”
Stever said she had no response yet to her request to the state for technical assistance about the county applying for stand alone status as its own regional for mental health services.
Supervisor chairman Lee Dimmitt clarified a comment in The Ledger earlier about Wapello County probably not receiving approval as a stand-alone region for mental health services based on population.
“That would be based on regional population,” said Dimmitt, “not just the county. Chuck Palmer [director of Iowa Department of Human Services] mentioned at a meeting population would be a factor.”
• Supervisors asked Cline if advance warning signs could be installed along Highway 34 about the Tangerine Avenue railroad crossing. The county is responsible for any warning signs on Tangerine Avenue approaching the crossing where the railroad plans to install flashing lights and safety gate. It is a very short approach to the crossing once a vehicle turns off of Highway 34. Cline said installing signs on the highway is the state’s responsibility, but he would inquire.
• Jefferson County Sheriff Gregg Morton said a department in the courthouse requested if law enforcement could receive active shooter response training. Dimmitt provided Morton with information about a free training available.
“We do training here, and we do drills,” Morton said. “I think one of our deputies has been through this program [Dimmitt shared] or a similar one.”
In October, the sheriff’s office participated in the county-wide emergency response drill, which was a scenario of two active shooters in a school.
Committee reports, supervisor’s activities
• Reed reported the Service Agency Board elected Tammy Jones as its new chairwoman. It has been a paid position in the past, but Jones said it would be a volunteer position for her.
The board approved law center offices to be painted by employees and the county will purchase the paint, using Local Option Sales Tax funds.
Reed said the Pathfinders Resource Conservation and Development board approved a $20,000 low interest loan to fund a start-up business in Sigourney.
Reed hosted the Smithsonian Magazine’s reporter Susan Spano around Maasdam Barns Sunday as part of Spano’s tour of Fairfield which maybe chosen by the magazine as one of the nation’s 10 best small towns.
• Supervisor Becky Schmitz reported the workshops in Des Moines for newly seated county supervisors were helpful.
“I came back with lists of questions and have been talking with some of the county departments already to learn more,” she said. “This year had only three new female supervisors.”
• Southern Iowa Economic Development Association board approved interim director John Wilson, Dimmitt said. SIEDA is looking to possibly build a building to replace its annual $147,000 rent.
“Funding will be an issue for several years to come,” said Dimmitt. “I’d like to see them move to Fairfield, but it’s difficult to get them out of Ottumwa. Wapello County is centrally located.”
• Area 15 has six community development black grants in process, said Dimmitt.
• Mahaska County wants to leave the 10-15 Transit System. Interim director Dave Silverio has been hired to as the new director, said Dimmitt.